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Cablegate: Germany Expected to Present Health Systems

VZCZCXRO0737
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHRL #1964 2991734
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261734Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9598

UNCLAS BERLIN 001964

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS
PLEASE PASS TO EB AND IO AT STATE; TANUJA GARDE AT USTR;
DEPARTMENTS
OF COMMERCE AND HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD KIPR WTRO WHO
SUBJECT: GERMANY EXPECTED TO PRESENT HEALTH SYSTEMS
PROPOSAL AT WHO MEETING AND SEEKS U.S. SUPPORT

REF: SECSTATE 144926

1. (SBU) Summary: On October 25, EconOff met with Dr.
Walter Werner, Head of the Trade Policy, Services and
Intellectual Property Division at the Ministry of Economics
on reftel points. Werner said Germany will avoid any
discussion of Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property
Rights (TRIPS) flexibilities regarding pharmaceuticals at the
upcoming World Health Organization's Intergovernmental
Working Group meeting in Geneva on November 5-10. Instead,
Germany will likely present proposals to fund the
introduction of health systems, research and development, and
public-private partnerships to address poor developing
countries' healthcare needs. Werner said Germany shares the
United States' interest in safeguarding innovation, but
German officials believe developed countries would lose in
any debate over the developing world's right to access
patented medicines. He argued that USG support for Germany's
approach could avoid heated and unproductive controversy. End
summary.

2. (SBU) An interagency delegation from Germany's Federal
Ministries of Health, Economic Cooperation and Development,
Education and Research, Economics and Technology, Justice,
and Foreign Affairs will attend the Geneva meetings. Werner
acknowledged interagency tensions in crafting Germany's
planned approach. He complained that "anything involving
Africa" ends up on Development Minister Heidemarie
Wieczorek-Zeul's desk and that the Development and Health
Ministries wanted to consider further extending access to
pharmaceuticals by developing nations. According to Werner,
these Ministries only abandoned such proposals because
Germany's Ministries of Economics and Justice stood firm on
protecting IPR. Werner said the Economics and Justice
Ministries recognized that any formulation of new language
would simply reopen a difficult discussion on TRIPS. He said
he had received proposals revisiting this language from Latin
American stakeholders, but chose to ignore them "because I
know what is in them." Werner argued that such a debate
would only detract from solving poor countries' poor health
care infrastructure.

3. (SBU) Werner said he could not predict how the European
Union would approach the meeting. Although Germany had
reached a common approach among its own Ministries,
Portugal's EU presidency could affect the EU's stance as well
as the outcome of the meeting. Consensus among Member States
appeared limited to remaining silent on existing TRIPS
flexibilities and holding off calls for poor developing
countries to provide so-called TRIPS Plus protections on
pharmaceuticals. Werner pointed out that the European
Parliament held off ratification of the World Trade
Organizations' December 2005 ruling on TRIPS until the
Commission pledged not to include any IPR provisions that
would curb access to medicines in the nearly 80 Economic
Partnership Agreements (EPAs) it hopes to conclude by the end
of 2007.

4. (SBU) Despite these political constraints, Werner
remained optimistic that developed countries would be able to
improve IPR protections in developing countries. Although
the EU would not seek any TRIPS Plus provisions specific to
pharmaceuticals, it may obtain provisions regarding patent
certifications and data privacy that would benefit
pharmaceutical companies as well as other economic sectors.

(SBU) Comment: Germany's commitment to send IPR officials to
Geneva and to emphasize research and development and better
healthcare systems are encouraging signs that Germany views
these issues in a manner similar to the U.S. Embassy
encourages U.S. officials attending subject meeting to work
constructively with German counterparts. End comment.


TIMKEN JR

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